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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – One by one this season, players that helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win consecutive Stanley Cups have returned to PPG Paints Arena in opposing jerseys. Thursday, when the Penguins host the Minnesota Wild, it will be Matt Cullen’s turn.

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“You know what, it’s really special coming back here,” Cullen said after Minnesota’s morning skate. “Obviously, the last two years were extraordinary years. It was just an awesome experience. We just loved our time here.”

He doesn’t know what to expect when he skates onto the ice.

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“It will just be fun to be out there,” he said. “You know it means a lot to be appreciated by a group of fans, and the fans have been just unbelievable to me and my family.”

Cullen went to dinner with some of his former teammates on Wednesday. It was a chance to reminisce.

“You live together essentially for two straight years, you’re together every day so it’s fun to catch up on family stuff,” he said.

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The 41-year-old Cullen’s decision to sign with Minnesota and not the Penguins last summer was influenced by family, an opportunity to play close to home. Asked if things have worked out as planned, he said, “it’s been really good.”